I know I keep harping on about this, but I wouldn’t go on so much if I didn’t believe it was both important and realistic. Church unity. Unity on a church to church basis and unity on a denomination to denomination basis (I hate the word denomination). The reason that I feel the need to write about this again now is because of my experience so far of the Christian Union at the University of Nottingham, an experience which can only be described as amazing. So far this week I have been to three events: the normal CU service/meeting, a relaxed café in the chapel library and a pub quiz. The thing that has struck me from all of them has been the unity between Christians of all different church and denominational backgrounds.
You see, we Christians have an incredible message to share, but we’re only going to be able to share it effectively if we share it together. The fact that there is such a large, unified Christian Union on the university campus means that there is a huge network of support for all the Christians here, whether that is personal support for problems in our own lives, or practical support for reaching out to as many people on campus as we possibly can in the short space of time that we’re going to be living here. The guy who was preaching last night made it clear that above all else, we as Christians have to remember that we are united by the single, saving truth of Jesus Christ. Nothing is as important as that. Disputes over baptism, confirmation, communion, evangelism etc. all pale in comparison to the cross. We have a truth to share and we need to help each other share it.
I’ve spoken before about the benefits of a unified church; I won’t go over them again, but they’re pretty obvious and don’t take much thinking to work out. I urge you to let go of any prejudices you might have against other denominations or individual churches and work with them for the good of the kingdom because that is what we’re here to do. I’m saying this because I have seen what a unified Christian community can look like. I have heard about what this unity can achieve and I fully intend to immerse myself in the CU to that effect this year. We are so privileged to know what we do, and we can’t let division get in the way of sharing it.
Paul writes in Galatians 3:28 that in Christ, there is no Jew nor gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female. Perhaps in the modern age it is just as relevant to say this: in Christ there is no Anglican nor Catholic, neither Baptist nor Methodist, neither Pentecostal nor Presbytarian. We are the Church. We are all God’s people.